About Us

Thank you for stopping by The Old Stacks.

My name is Ursula Bielski, and I'm a lifelong Chicago author, artist, historian, folklorist  . . . and biblioholic! 

From before I could walk I would ask my mom to take me to the library, and my fondest memories are of browsing in the old stacks at my local library--the Hild branch of the Chicago Public Library--, and working in the campus library as an undergraduate at Benedictine University here in Illinois. My mom and I traded books constantly until she lost her eyesight, and even after that I would read to her or bring her audio books to listen to.  I'm sure she is at the library in Heaven right now. 

I had a previous life as a paranormal investigator for 34 years (you may have seen me on Ghost Adventures and other shows), and I'm also an established cemetery historian, so many of my books have a supernatural theme, and you'll find a lot of Gothic-themed items in The Old Stacks. With so many Poe and Lovecraft fans as our customers, I am in excellent company!

I am not happy unless I'm doing fifty creative things at once, so along with designing all of our exclusive literary-inspired products, which I enjoy so much, I also continue to write books on history and folklore (like my latest, The Haunting of Joliet Prison, left), and to publish classic novels,  journals, coloring books, planners and other books through Magic Lantern Publishing.   I also create all of the fragrances for our sister company, Ghost Ship Fragrance, which carries unique fragrances inspired by legend, lore and literature.  

It is my sincere hope that you love all of our bookish products. They are all designed with care and passion and made for you to order with the help of our wonderful production partners around the world.  

Remember: We can customize just about anything, so if you'd like a special dress, throw, tee, lamp or any other item designed around your favorite book, book quote or cover, just drop us a line and let us know. We will work with you to deliver exactly what you have in mind.

Happy browsing and--most of all--reading!


(Above) Me at Borley Church in England during the filming of "The Haunting of M.R. James," a documentary on the English ghost story writer, M.R. James.  Check out the finished documentary at my friend Chris Halton's Haunted Earth Channel on YouTube!